Busting the FREE Publicity myth – There is no such thing as FREE PR – There is always an investment

Free PR seems to be a buzz word in the industry right now…And whilst the fruits of Public Relations are everywhere there is always an investment that needs to be made to secure PR and Media Coverage.

That story about the up and coming entrepreneur you read in yesterday’s paper, that blog on your favourite website that piqued your interest or that social media campaign that saw emails delivered directly to your inbox.
Often in the industry there’s a perception these things just “happen” but behind every PR campaign there’s a host of legwork, and a concerted effort to get the message out.
PR takes time, energy and commitment. Whether you outsource your PR or do it in house, this time and effort has a value.

There’s no such thing as Free PR. There is always a cost and that is TIME.

Above all, creating a media presence takes time. Like a concert, the end result may be seamless singing and choreographed staging, but for the two hours the audience sees, there’s months of work behind the scenes.
Any business looking to attract media attention needs the strategy and dedication to do it, and to be seen at the right place in the right way.

That means taking the time to:

 
Create profiles and bios for yourself and your business
From LinkedIn to FaceBook pages and websites, complete profiles of an individual or organisation help them to be seen. These details fill in the gaps for the media but also create a “standing” where your presence is established and complete.
Craft newsworthy releases
Good press releases that are likely to attract attention boast a number of ingredients, whether they highlight something new, respond to something timely, or promote an event. This means they need to be researched and crafted correctly, in the best format to catch an editor’s eye.
Find Journalists
Not all media outlets and journalists are the same. Certain journalists specialise in specific fields and different media, and make no mistake it takes time and effort to find the right person to pitch to in the right way.
Is it hard news, a feature piece, real estate, lifestyle or health? Not only do you need to have an idea of where you want your story to be seen but know the name of the person or department that will be likely to write it.
Places like Media Connections allow you to connect with journalists and share your story.
Pitch Your Story
So you’ve found your target demographic, you know the media outlet most likely to run your story and even the name of the journalist you want to contact, now it’s time for the pitch. Pitching should be outlet specific addressing what’s in it for their audience. And it’s not just a matter of whipping up a release and emailing it through. Pitching often involves a follow-up call to ensure your information has reached them and to see if there is any interest.
Respond to callouts
Yes, occasionally the media comes a-calling, seeking out stories and themes, but there’s no one-size fits all response and this takes thought and effort.
It also takes time to be across callouts and to vary your pitch to suit a media outlet’s angle.

Other things you need to remember when looking into PR for your Business:

 
Be Available
A common mistake people make is to seek out media attention but then be unavailable when the media knocks on their door.
Not only do you need to commit to creating a strategy, actively send out releases and respond to callouts, you need to make yourself available, when the media do call and act quickly when they do.
It is not an overnight solution
Just like starting a business, creating your media presence won’t happen overnight. It’s about building your presence and maintaining it in the knowledge that every effort adds up.
Public relations is a business investment of time or money and most often both, but a journey that can be very rewarding, opening up many new doors for you and your business.
 

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